Connect with us

Phoenix Suns

Was Kevin Durant Under Utilized in Final 5 Minutes of Game 1?

© Joe Camporeale- USA TODAY Sports

In the last 5 minutes of Game 1 action against the Los Angeles Clippers, it feels as though Kevin Durant didn’t get a lot of shots up that he normally would in years past. The Suns’ total field goal attempts and touches in the last 5 minutes paint a picture of how underutilized Durant might’ve been at the end of the game against the Clippers.

Thank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!

According to Lucas Burns, out of all the starters, Durant had more touches than Devin Booker, Chris Paul, Deandre Ayton, and Torrey Craig with 6. However, Durant was tied for the fewest field goal attempts as he only attempted 1 shot which was a made 3-pointer to bring the game within 3 points.

There was a stat that furthers up last night’s game that logged in Durant’s usage percentage in the clutch during his last 3 seasons. It brings into account the regular season and playoffs.

Durant has been a great off-ball scorer throughout his career as he has proven that he doesn’t need a lot of touches to get things going for him offensively. His usage percentage in the clutch however is typically around 32% or better. Even though it’s only game 1, I was shocked to see that Durant didn’t get more quality opportunities to score.

Help Defense:

One thing that is for certain though is Durant had more touches than the other starters on the court during that time. So what this tells me is that the offense did go through him quite a bit, especially during their high pick-and-roll sets that they usually like to utilize a lot with Chris Paul.

The Clippers did a good job of double-teaming off the rolls which forced him to dish out to teammates, and it forced somebody else to make a bucket in the clutch. For the longest time in the final 5 minutes, Paul and Ayton were attempting a lot of mid-range shots due to the help defense on Durant which in return gave them a lot of good quality looks.

Not Enough Off-Ball Screen Action:

Unfortunately, none of their shots were going in as a result, and the offense stayed stagnant at times because of it. Another thing that was taken noticed during the final 5 minutes was that there weren’t any off-ball screen sets for Durant that would’ve helped free him for jump shot opportunities. The only off-ball screen that he received in those final minutes was when he hit that three-pointer that I alluded to earlier in the article.

Head coach Monty Williams said after the game that they wanted to run fewer sets in those moments of the game which probably alluded to reasoning as to why Durant didn’t come down with the opportunities that he could’ve had at the end of the game.

Suns Investigating Russell Westbrook Video With Fan

With all this being said, the Suns still ended up scoring 14 points on 9 shots which shows that the offense wasn’t the issue in why they lost Game 1. However, I firmly believe if there were more sets on offense for Durant to utilize, they might’ve come away with a win late in the ball game.

More in Phoenix Suns